v 18 Jews united in saying ‘We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.’
The Good News is for people of all different backgrounds.
This is a massive step of understanding by the Jewish believers! After all, the Jews regarded themselves as God’s uniquely chosen people. They traced their relationship with God right back to Abraham, all the promises of a land for themselves and of God’s goodwill towards them were based on that heritage relationship. Everyone else was a heathen Gentile and not in the line of God’s promises. To be ‘In’ with God you had to be a Jew; no ifs and buts, no exceptions, only the Jews mattered to God as far as they were concerned.
The wonderful thing is that God is bigger than that. His promises are to all people of all nations and persuasions.
As I write, I have taken delivery of a grafted cucumber plant. A new and fruitful variety of cucumber has been grafted on to a sturdy rootstock. All the life of this new plant in my greenhouse springs from it’s binding together with the strong and trusty root of a well-tried variety. It is exactly this kind of relationship that Paul has in mind when he writes in Romans 11:17 ‘ But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.‘ Our hope and faith in Jesus springs from God’s covenant with Abraham, which was for all people. God’s promise recorded in Genesis 18:18 was ‘“For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. ‘
Once Peter returned to Jerusalem and explained what had happened to Gentiles who believed in Jesus, the stage was set for the next step in spreading the Good News to all the world